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Birth injuries and birth defects: What's the difference?

If your baby is born with a serious health issue, the most important thing on your mind is to get your baby feeling better -- and recovering from the health problem -- as quickly as possible. The thing is, health care for your baby could be extremely expensive and unaffordable if you're not extremely wealthy.

If you want to find out whether you can pursue a claim for damages against a responsible party, you'll want to investigate the circumstances of how and when your baby's health condition developed. For these purposes, you'll want to determine whether your baby is dealing with a birth injury or a birth defect.

What's a birth injury?

A birth injury happens during labor or delivery. It could be the result of the doctor's improper use of a vacuum or forceps while supervising the delivery. It could also be the result of the doctor missing important clues that -- for any other physician -- would have indicated the need to take immediate action. If your doctor was negligent, missed clear details that other physicians would have noticed or was reckless while administering care, the doctor might be liable for damages if his or her poor performance caused your baby's injuries.

What's a birth defect?

Unlike a birth injury, a birth defect happens while the baby is developing in the womb. It could be triggered by failures on the part of the doctor when prescribing medications. It could be the result of something that the physician failed to notice. When the birth defect is the direct result of the doctor's failures in this regard, then the parents may be able to pursue a personal injury claim for compensation to help pay for the baby's care.

Does your baby have a serious health problem?

While many birth injury and birth defect cases are the clear fault of treating physicians, hospitals and medical staff -- many of these situations are no one's fault. If that's the case, then the parents may not have any avenue by which to pursue compensation. If your baby was born with a serious health condition, make sure to fully evaluate your options to determine whether you and your family can pursue financial justice in court.

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